Hampton man's shooting apparently self-inflicted

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com

   A Hampton man who told Carter County Sheriff's Department officers Monday night that he had been shot in the arm while near Watauga Point probably will face charges of filing a false report, according to Sheriff John Henson.
   "We're not all the way completed with the investigation, but it is going to be self-inflicted," Henson said. "He was having problems with his wife, and I guess, was feeling sorry for himself."
   Members of the sheriff's department recovered a 16-gauge shotgun Wednesday afternoon in the vicinity of Butler Bridge which is believed to be the weapon involved in the shooting.
   "We have got enough by his own statement and by the evidence out of the car that it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound," Henson said.
   Michael Perkins, 29, of Hampton was still in the hospital Wednesday, according to the sheriff, after being wounded with "rat shot."
   Around 11 p.m. Monday, Lt. Bobby Huffman responded to 119 Dennis Cove Road in Hampton regarding a shooting. When the officer arrived, members of Carter County Rescue Squad were already on the scene, working on a male subject sitting inside a brown 1987 Cadillac.
   The man, identified as Perkins, had a large laceration to the left arm and told the officer that he had been sitting in a pull-off on Highway 321 on the Elizabethton side of Watauga Point when a white male approached him and demanded his money at gunpoint.
   Perkins said he swatted the gun away and tried to drive off when he was shot. He then drove to his stepmother's residence on Dennis Cove Road to get help. Perkins was taken to Johnson City Medical Center and the case turned over to sheriff's department Investigator George Skeans.